Parish councillor resigns over racist posts targeting England stars

A parish councillor has resigned after racist comments about England’s footballers were posted to his Facebook page.

The comments appeared after England's penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy
The comments appeared after England's penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy

Councillor Paul Bradbury, a Pontesbury parish councillor, stepped down from his seat and is being investigated over posts made after the Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.

The posts came after the penalty shoot-out in which three young, black England stars missed their spot-kicks.

Two posts on Councillor Bradbury’s page that caused controversy were laden with expletives. One questioned the Black Lives Matter movement and another said: “Whites only in future England teams”.

The statements sparked outrage online, with one branding the words used “absolutely disgusting”, and another saying they “couldn’t believe” what had been written.

Pontesbury Parish Council’s leadership held a meeting with police yesterday afternoon, and confirmed his resignation was accepted. A spokeswoman said: “Pontesbury Parish Council is aware of comments made on Facebook by a former member of the parish council. They are made by an individual not representing this council. We found these comments strongly offensive, and do not tolerate racism of any kind.

“The council have reported this serious matter to the police and are currently assisting them with their enquiries. The council distances itself from these comments. The chairman has accepted his resignation from Pontesbury Parish Council.”

Police confirmed a man in his 60s from Minsterley has been arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred and currently remained in police custody on Monday evening.

A post on Councillor Paul Bradbury's Facebook page

Chief Inspector Mark Reilly said: “We want to be absolutely clear - we have a zero tolerance policy for discrimination in all forms, including online abuse. We will investigate reports and act.”

Police also urged anyone who has been a victim of hate crime to get in touch via its online reporting function or by heading to report-it.org.uk/

Councillor Bradbury has been contacted for a comment. He recently wrote to the Shropshire Star to tell how he had carried out thousands of errands for the people of Minsterley during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The trio of England players who missed, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, received a torrent of abuse online despite Gareth Southgate’s side’s run to the final lifting spirits in the country.

The FA released a statement last night shortly after the game as the insults started being posted. It said: “The FA strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and is appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media.

“We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team.

“We will do all we can to support the players affected whilst urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also condemned racists targeting England’s players after the nation’s first major final in 55 years. He tweeted: “This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media. Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves.”

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